No, genetically engineered mosquitoes aren’t about to be released in Berkeley

K. D. Rauch,  Berkeleyside,  2021.

Judith Pierce, public outreach coordinator for the Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District, would like to make one thing clear: A release of genetically engineered mosquitoes is not coming to Berkeley — or anywhere in Alameda County — in the near future. Not to her knowledge, anyway, and if it were official, she would know. The Berkeley City Council’s robust discussion of this at a council meeting in early November was based partially on misleading information, said Pierce.The council, at its Nov. 9 meeting, considered whether to send a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opposing a potential California pilot study of mosquitoes engineered to combat Zika, dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever and other diseases.Councilmember Ben Bartlett sponsored the item, sending out an email to constituents ahead of time urging them to take action to prevent the EPA from “releasing billions of genetically engineered mosquitoes across California, specifically in Alameda County.” The sample letter Bartlett presented to the council was focused statewide, but background information he shared, as well as discussion at the meeting, focused on keeping the mosquitoes out of the county

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